KIHASA Publishes Research in Brief 2021-16: Newly Married Couples: Their Employment Status, Housing Tenure and Number of Children

  • Date 2021-11-16
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Korea recorded a fertility rate of 0.84 in 2020, an all-time low for the country and possibly the lowest in the world. The figure represents a far cry from the ideal number of children (2.16) or the intended number of children (1.92) that married Korean women want. This calls for looking into why married women do not give birth to the number of children they consider ideal. Earlier studies conducted of fertility among married women suggest that childbearing is affected negatively by “being in work” and positively by “having homeownership.” Against this background, this study examines couples in their early years of marriage, during which most marital births occur, in terms of the number of children, occupational status and housing tenure types. Whereas Statistics Korea has been producing statistical data on the current population of newlyweds, this study examines changes in the housing and employment of young married couples across life course milestones including “graduating from last school,” “being in a relationship with future spouse,” “marriage,” “birth of the first child,” and “birth of the second child.” In order to have a grasp of the characteristics of newlyweds’ employment before and after marriage through comparison, this study uses data on a group of unmarried men and women of comparable age. Statistics Korea defines newly married couples as couples in their first five years of marriage. Newly married couples for this study are those in the first seven years marriage. The number of children here means the number of children born to couples in their 6th and 7th years of marriage.

This study used data from “A Survey Study of Marriage and Childbirth Trends among Young Adults”. The sample of this study consists of a total of 1,779 pairs (3,558 men and women) aged between 18 and 49 who were in their first 7 years of marriage. The couples were surveyed via retrospective questions asking of the changes they had in their employment and housing at such life-cycle milestones as graduation from the last school attended, starting a relationship with one’s future spouse, marriage, and birth of children.

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